Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea: Emma Hayes’ side clinch top spot after anxious London derby

At this point in the season, all that matters for those challenging for the title is to secure the three point – and that’s exactly what Chelsea did at Brisbane Road on Wednesday night as they emerged 1-0 victors against an impressive Tottenham side.

Robert Vilahamn’s side could be forgiven if their minds were elsewhere after their disappointing 4-0 loss in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup final to Manchester United on Sunday, but they didn’t roll over and instead took this game right down to the wire.

As it happened

It was clear from kick-off that the Chelsea players were acutely aware of the implications of tonight’s result, but despite a dominant performance throughout the first half, their decision making in the final third was consistently questionable.

The bulk of their chances were coming down Tottenham’s right-hand side as the experienced Ashleigh Neville was unable to deal with Guro Reiten one-on-one, with the Norwegian constantly punishing the full-back for being out of position.

From the plethora of chances down that side, their best came in the 20th minute when Niamh Charles combined well with Reiten to get here a clear shot on goal. However, the well-positioned Amy James-Turner heroically blocked it on the line, and Robert Vilahamn’s side eventually managed to clear the danger.

Chelsea’s frustrations were growing as their final ball repeatedly let them down, a matter not helped when a penalty shout for Maika Hamano was turned down after an effort from the edge of the box struck Luana Buhler’s arm.

Inevitably, however, Chelsea’s persistence paid off as once again Reiten got the better of Neville and drilled the ball across the face of the goal, with Hamano’s effort crashing into the roof of the net after getting goal-side of Amanda Nildén.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite some late flurishes from Spurs, as Jessica Naz – who received her first England call-up on Tuesday – pounced on some lapses in Chelsea’s defensive concentration, but was unable to create anything of note and the home side went into the break trailing by a goal.

It was a far more nervy start to the second half for Chelsea as Spurs came out the blocks firing, with an early corner nearly finding the equaliser as James-Turner won the scramble for the ball but fired it way over the bar.

James-Turner had another chance from a corner soon after, which Zecira Musovic did well to collect fairly comfortably, but the Lilywhites were composed throughout the half and looked by far the more likely team to score in the first twenty minutes or so.

Emma Hayes knew she had to make changes, and being able to bring on the likes of Sjoeke Nüsken, Fran Kirby, and Lauren James certainly helped her side create a few more chances and stop the increasing Spurs pressure – but you could sense the nerves coming from the sold-out Chelsea away end.

Kirby had a chance to make herself the hero soon after coming on, as she found herself with a clear sight of goal following a cross. The substitute should really have done better with her attempt though, as she managed to completely miss the target.

In the 87th minute, Spurs were afforded a golden opportunity to grasp a late equaliser after a misplaced Cuthbert pass allowed Grace Clinton a clear run at goal, but her decision making let her down as she ignores the overlapping Matilda Vinberg and instead decided to go for the spectacular, which Musovic watched fly over the bar.

Three points for Chelsea give them the advantage heading into the final day – and the task is now clear for Emma Hayes’ side. They must match Manchester City’s result at Aston Villa to lift the Barclays Women’s Super League for a fifth consecutive season.

The lineups

TOT: Votíková; Nildén, Bühler, James-Turner, Neville; Spence, Summanen, Clinton; Bizet, England, Naz

CHE: Mušović; Charles, Björn, Bright, Lawrence; Reiten, Leupolz, Cuthbert, Hamano; Macário, Beever-Jones

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *